Women in Lighting, welcome! My name is Sarah Chandler. I'm the US Sales Director for Kuzco, and this is Ashlen Haslam. She's our Brand Communication Lead. Hey guys. I don't want to give you a full schpiel about Kuzco, but we are so excited to have everyone from the Women in Lighting here in our showroom. The Women in Lighting and women in powerful positions in every company in lighting is so key and important to us here at Kuzco, we actually have six people, six women in executive positions at Kuzco. We really believe in our women, and we actually have two female designers that have launched product within Kuzco and Alora. So definitely after the presentation, you are welcome to check that out. We are proud to have women in every facet of our business. But I want to see more women in the Hall of Fame, don't you guys? Yeah, I don't want to see just men's faces as I walk to the elevator anymore. I want to see some of these faces, you know. So let's continue to uplift each other. Let's continue to advise the younger generation on how to get to those executive positions. And let's continue this beautiful work that we do as an organization with ALA, right? Awesome. So without further ado... Yes, I like to bring up two incredible women here, Cathy [Choi] & Colleen [Visage] - give them a hand. Hello, ladies and gentlemen! Just wanted to extend a very, very warm thank you to the Kuzco team. This is amazing. So let's give them another round of applause, please. Sarah and Ashlen and Steve, Thank you for being the hostess with the mostest. This is incredible. You've definitely one-upped the game for us. So really appreciate it. We wanted to remind you to enter the raffle. So there's a raffle that we're going to pull at the conclusion around quarter to six, that's 5:45 and we're going to pull five. So this is really rich that ALA has done this with us and there's five people who are going to win to go - a registration to the Tahoe conference. All right. And then just as a reminder, there are pins being sold for $20 that will be donated to our charity for the year, which is Dress for Success and there are beautiful goodie bags from again, courtesy of Kuzco. So please be sure to sign up in the front. So without further ado today's big event is to announce the 2023 Women in Lighting Leadership Award that is going to Laurie Gross of Gross Electric. Before I call up the honoree, Michelle Ramer would like to say a few words. Hello. On behalf of our team at Gross Electric, I would like to congratulate Laurie Gross. for being honored with the 2023 Women in Lighting Leadership Award. Laurie is a true visionary and exceptional leader, the president of Gross Electric.
Laurie just celebrated her 48th year at Gross Electric. After graduating from the University of Michigan, her dad, Richard Gross made her the branch manager of the Ann Arbor store. After making the Ann Arbor branch a success. Laurie was named VP of the electrical supply division, then left one more position to conquer for Laurie. And in 1993 she was named president of Gross Electric. Laurie demonstrates a combination of dedication, passion and commitment for excellence. Laurie has served on a variety of commitments within ALA and this year she is Chair, ALA Board of Governors. Laurie also is among Lighting One, and outside of lighting. Laurie serves on boards for the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo and the University of Toledo Family Business Center. Laurie's impact as a leader goes far beyond the bottom line. She always believes in fostering a work environment where she values each and every individual, a place where everyone's talent is recognized as a value. Laurie has taken all of her employees to breakfast or lunch just to have a one on one conversation to build a relationship with them. Laurie enjoys spending time working on the sales floor with our team and loves to take every opportunity she can to teach her team. Laurie believes in growth of the business. Laurie sees opportunity and she takes it. Gross Electric, established a renewable energy division for the future and opened a downtown store in Howell called Lighting Hearth and Home and continues to reinvest in the training and education of our team, preparing them for the future growth. 35 years ago, Laurie took her risk. I knew this was gonna happen. OK. Got it. Yeah. OK. 35 years ago, Laurie took a risk in hiring me. Never did I think seven years ago, I'd be standing up here as a division manager. Laurie always believed in me more than I even believed in myself. Definitely gave her challenges through the years, but she always treated me like family, like she does for the whole team. So thank you Women in Lighting for recognizing Laurie for what Laurie's team already knows. Laurie is an exceptional leader, incredible mentor, is someone who has the passion and love for Gross Electric as well as the lighting industry. Congratulations. OK. You've started me crying. That is not a great way to start a speech, but thank you all for being here today and thank you all so much for this nomination. I really appreciate it. It's such an honor. As Michelle said, I just celebrated 48 years in the industry and my first market was when it was still in Chicago, which is hard to believe now. And I think the industry has changed so much over the years and yet in some ways it hasn't changed at all. There are 10 times more women in this room tonight than there was when I entered the electrical and lighting industry. It's awesome to see all this. Yet, even though that has changed the love and support and family feeling is the same as in the past And you guys all know the same because you've lived it. Once you're in this industry, you never seem to leave it, right? People change companies, they change jobs, but they stay in the industry and that creates a great support network for all of us, right? And this is a network that you can use all your life. There's people in this room that I've known for 40 years, 45 years and we're all still here and I know they're there if I need them and can call them. And I hope all of you here will look at everybody that you know, and think the same thing - that no matter where I'm at in my career or my life, these are the friends I'm going to have forever. So I have so many lifelong friends and I just want to thank you all for all your help through the years. And this is our village, right? We all need a village to help us. So take advantage of it and thank you again for all you do for me and for the industry. All right. So on behalf of the American Lighting Association and Women in Lighting, I'm so honored to present Laurie Gross the 2023 Women in Lighting Leadership Award. Congratulations Laurie. Well, well done. No, we need allies! Give an extra round of applause for Laurie! So first everybody, we're gonna give a toast, an official toast to Laurie. So congratulations Laurie. And then we want to give a toast to Women in Lighting and ALA for five amazing years. Yes, guys. It's been five years and we've been at this, dedicated and we keep going. We're all about elevating women in this industry. We're about leadership, mentoring. And as Laurie says, we're here to bring everybody up. So we encourage all of you. Please get involved when you see see any of us in the hallways, you see us here tonight, ask us about Women in Lighting. Look us up on our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram and look us up on the ALA website. We want all of you to be a part of our village. Congrats.